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LA STAGIONE FRANKFURT
Michael Schneider conductor
Christoph Prégardien tenor

Mozart Symphony No.20 in D K133;
Fuor del mar Idomeneo;
Misero! o sogno – Aura che intorno spiri K431;
Symphony No.38 in D K504 Prague
Haydn Perduto un’altra volta, mi sento languire
L’anima del filosofo ossia Orfeo ed Euridice

LUFTHANSA FESTIVAL OF BAROQUE MUSIC 2006 St. John’s Smith Square, London 6 May 2006

Only a small audience came to hear this fine German Baroque Orchestra (which does play later music too) in a Mozart Haydn concert. Most striking was that they brought a large contingent of 10 wind players and Michael Schneider (formerly a recorder player/flautist) featured them on the evening's programme. The early Mozart symphony has horns and trumpet, oboes and a prominent flute in the slow movement, and it was the most enjoyable work of the concert.

The 16 strings, based on two basses (placed either side of the platform - why?) were whipped up by excessive frenzy from the conductor, who roamed around the platform advancing on particular groups, jumping right off his feet for emphasis, surely quite unnecessary for a well rehearsed orchestra who will have known all the music well before bringing it to London.

The Prague symphony was given at fullest length with all repeats played but bringing no special interest to a work which, I fear, has become too familiar to us to recapture its freshness. And Christoph Prégardienhad something of a baritonal quality, not so free as in the past; better in the Haydn Orfeo aria in the second half (c.f. Tito DVD).

See also Geoff Brown in The Times

- - Schneider's conducting, right from the start, never shrank in a corner. Hips swivelling, hands chopping, arms flung wide: you'd have thought he was piloting some mighty masterwork, not a tugboat such as Mozart's D major symphony, K 133 - - the tenor Christoph Prégardien's tenor tending towards a lyric baritone stayed maddeningly close to stolid. His voice is not blessed with much individual colour - - La Stagione displayed moderate vim in the mature Mozart of the Prague symphony, capped with its scatterbrained finale. The well-balanced sound was pleasant, as before; but somewhere en route from Frankfurt the players had mislaid the imagination and zip to take this concert to a higher level.

© Peter Grahame Woolf